Breaking down diabetes: Top priorities for patients and their doctors

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Thirty million Americans have diabetes, a disease where the body loses its ability to remove enough sugar from the bloodstream, spurring harmful inflammation systemwide. While it’s better to prevent diabetes from developing, there are many strategies that patients and their doctors can take to avoid its deadly and devastating consequences: heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, nerve damage, amputations, and blindness.

Yet many problems persist in how doctors, people with diabetes and the U.S. health care system overall manages this complex chronic illness, which costs $245 billion a year, according to the American Diabetes Association, equivalent to 10 percent of all health care expenses. The key issues are:

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